faith, Personal Development

Uncommon Behavior

Recently as I was searching for some inspiration to write/ pray about in my journal, I happened upon some old notes from an Andy Stanley study on marriage and relationships. The key verse is Matthew 7:12 “…do to others what you would have them do to you…” We’ve heard this our whole life, right? We know this is how we should behave. After all, these are the words of Jesus – a trustworthy resource if there ever was one. Yet we aren’t very good at it. Instead we judge harshly, we keep our distance, we speak criticism much more than praise, we find fault instead of giving grace, etc.
We seem to be naturally wired for this ‘transactional’ type of relationships where the verse would read, “I’ll do to you what you do to me… or if you do this first, then I will respond with that.” This faulty mindset applies for both good and bad behavior. We want justice and revenge for another’s bad behavior, and we hold out to reciprocate loving behavior only after we receive it. Our version of the verse sounds ridiculous and entirely self-centered, but upon sober self-assessment we will agree this is how we typically behave.
Behaving this way doesn’t work for us or the other person. We put all the power onto them for how we can behave – waiting for them to act first. Be honest, have you ever thought, “I’d really like to be nice/ loving/ giving to him/ her, but I just can’t because he/ she isn’t being nice to me.” We do this all the time and don’t even realize it. But that is not at all what this simple familiar verse says. If we want to take back control (and we all like to be in control) of our behavior, and if we want the best for ourselves and our relationships, we would actually do what this verse says.
The verse tells us to be proactive. Be positive. Be the one who loves first. Believe the best about the person instead of assuming the worst. Gee whiz, we are very bad at this. Look at what happens when news breaks about someone behaving badly or is accused of some crime or bad behavior. We immediately judge them as evil, they get fired from their job, they are ostracized from the community, and regarded as a terrible person. We don’t even know the whole story, and the investigation is incomplete, but we immediately assume the worst. Is that how we want others to treat us? I digress.
Like 1 Corinthians 13:7, look for ways to love, give, serve, and care for others. Show grace and patience. Are you perfect? Do you hope others show grace and patience with your weaknesses, imperfections, mistakes, and annoyances? Yeah, me too.
Look, no one wants to disappoint another person, especially someone close like a spouse. Let’s build some margin in our hearts for their “issues” like we hope they do for ours. Wouldn’t this mindset shift do us good? That’s the conviction I have about this verse in Matt 7:12. Stop waiting for the other person to do/ be who we expect them to be and just do our part. Trust the Lord with our heart and hands while we obey this command for how we are to behave and watch our relationships flourish. #preachingtomyself #underconstruction #conqueryourmind

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